Intentional Tort Defenses
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What Are Intentional Torts?
Intentional torts are civil law violations that involve intentional acts by the defendant. These are distinguished from violations that are accidental, such as those involving negligence. Intentional torts include acts like: assault, battery, theft, property damage, invasion of privacy, slander/defamation, and other acts.
What Are Some Intentional Tort Defenses?
Tort defenses will of course vary depending on the type of violation involved. The most common defenses to intentional torts include:
- Self-defense: The defendant was protecting himself against the plaintiff's attack. The party claiming this defense must not be the aggressor in the situation, and they must only use a proportionate amount of force.
- Defense of property: The defendant was protecting his property from the plaintiff's intrusion. However, use of deadly force is generally not allowed for defending property.
- Lack of intent: It may be a defense if there is proof that the defendant did not actually intend to harm the plaintiff, but this will may depend on many factors.
- Consent: In some instances, liability can be avoided if the person consented to the conduct. For instance, if the person consented to a boxing match for a sports league.
- Assumption of risk: The plaintiff knew of the dangers involved with the conduct, yet still proceeded to participate.
Other defenses may apply, such as intoxication or other legal theories. However, these will depend on many different factors, such as the facts surrounding the incident and the rules for that particular jurisdiction.
How Are Defenses Proven?
Intentional tort defense require extensive proof. The defendant’s attorney may present different forms of evidence to help prove that the defendant is not liable for the plaintiff’s injuries. These can include:
- Physical evidence from the scene of the incident
- Video footage and pictures
- Audio recordings
- Witness testimony
- Expert medical witness reports (for instance, when proving the extent of an injury)
- Various documents and reports
For example, if video footage shows that the plaintiff actually attacked the defendant first, it can be used to help prove a self-defense theory.
Should I Hire a Lawyer for Help with Intentional Tort Defenses?
Defending against intentional tort claims can often be a complex task. It is in your best interests to hire a personal injury lawyer for help with your defense. An experienced lawyer in your area can help provide you with legal research and advice for your case. Also, if you need to appear for a hearing or a court meeting, your attorney can guide you through the process and can represent you during those times.
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Last Modified: 07-29-2015 11:15 AM PDT
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